Missoula residents excited to welcome new businesses


MISSOULA, Mont. - Several new businesses will be settling into the old K-Mart location in Missoula and city officials say it will bring a boost to the local economy.

NBC Montana hit the streets to find out what residents think of the new business plans and the stores that are expected to come.

Missoula resident Leona Skunkcap tells us she grew up north of Missoula, which always made it difficult when it came time to go shopping, because she wasn't close to any big cities.

"We need more shopping variety," she says. "Especially for out-of-town people who travel a distance to come and find things that we can't in our own location."

That's why she says the stores are welcome news to people who may only venture to Missoula every few weeks or months for major shopping trips.

"I think it's going to be nice to have some new stores and to get rid of the eyesore," says Skunkcap.

She tells NBC Montana she's excited the changes are already taking place.

"That structure (former K-Mart building) has been there and it's awful to look at," she says. "It's kind of scary to look at too because you wonder what's going to go on there if there's nothing there."

Project managers tell us the new businesses are expected to create over 400 new jobs and residents say that's thrilling news in a tough economy.

"The economy has slowed down so much that our college kids and people that are retiring may need extra income," says Skunkcap.

Plans are in the works to construct buildings to house a Cabela's Outpost and Kohl's Department Store. As for the other three business spaces, Skunkcap says she has some ideas in mind.

"Olive Garden," she said happily. "That's what we need here."

City officials tell us the new retail location will set the mark for future developments in the area.

Project construction should be complete by the end of this year.